Federal funding increases announced for SNAP, child nutrition program

Federal funding increases were announced for major food programs.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 11:04 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:26 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Federal funding increases were announced for major food programs.

The Supplemental Nutritional Insurance Program, or SNAP, and child nutrition programs were said to be getting a significant boost.

A news conference with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and advocates took place at 11 a.m. on Monday in Hartford.

The child nutrition programs include school meal programs.

Blumenthal said growing numbers of Connecticut families have been facing food insecurity in the winter.

He said the federal budget included $154 billion for SNAP, an increase of $13.4 billion over last year, $28.5 billion for Child Nutrition Programs including historic funding allowing schools to serve healthy meals, and $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Connecticut’s SNAP and child nutrition programs were expected to receive a boost of millions of dollars to support access to affordable and nutritious foods.

“The community action agencies have seen a huge uptick in people coming to our pantries and in people coming through our doors for basic needs assistance,” said Lena Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Community Renewal Team.

Blumenthal cited Feeding America, which said nearly 400,000 people in Connecticut face hunger, which equates to one in every 10 residents. Nearly one in eight children are food insecure.

“For every 1 meal that a food bank can provide, the SNAP program can provide 10. And it also allows people the dignity of being able to go to the grocery store and choose their own food,” said Jason Jakubowski, President and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.

“This bill, this funding is going to make a big difference for our funding overall, especially those working families. What has happened is they can make a little bit more money and still qualify,” said Lonnie Burt, Director of Food Services for Hartford Public Schools.

Advocates said this money will help maintain the quality of school meals and assist school districts in extending lunches into summer months for families that are eligible for SNAP benefits.

“With the record inflation and rising costs, this is very critical, that we have to fund the no cost school meals across Connecticut, let’s help our children,” said Julieth Callejas, Executive Director with End Hunger CT.

The federal government was providing funding for universal free school meals, but that funding has finished in many school districts.

Advocates said they will continue fighting to bring that back at the state and federal level.